By Jorie (feat. Lisa Erickson from Migraine Magick) –
When I first told my neurologist I thought the Moon may be contributing to the pattern of my migraines, he gave me a look of stupefaction that needs no depiction.
When I told my mom about it, she thoughtfully said, “well, anything that has a gravitational pull on the ocean’s tides is bound to affect your body too.”
I think I side with mom on this one.
As I tracked my migraines with more detail and regularity alongside the moon cycles, I found that there was a pattern that is practically unbreakable even today. No doubt, the testament of old documentation paired with newer diary entries didn’t falter: during every Full Moon and nearly every New Moon for the last 3 years of my record-keeping, my migraines have taken a fiery ascent.
These migraines are also some of my worst, clocking in at 8’s an 9’s for pain intensity, lasting for days, and unrelenting as far as treatment goes. These can truly be some monster migraines.
I talked with Lisa Erickson, founder and owner of Migraine Magick, to learn more about how the moon and other cosmic events affect our bodies and trigger migraines. Migraine Magick is a company dedicated to treating migraine with a natural approach, something I’ve always been passionate about and strive to include in my life.
Lisa is passionate about this too. As a migraine sufferer herself, she set out to create a product that would holistically help heal her and her family. That’s how Migraine Magick was born: a spray blend of organic essential oils in an electrolyte solution helps to restore, rebalance, and replenish cells that are responsible for migraine pain.
(Above: Migraine Magick spray bottle, via @thegirlwiththemigraines on Instagram.)
Now, on to the Moon…
Meet the Moon
The Earth’s little rocky companion known as the Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth approximately every 27.3 days, known as a synodic lunar cycle. It has 8 lunar phases we recognize, cycling from a Full Moon all the way to a New Moon. In between, the moon waxes and wanes. Each of these phases make up the complete lunar month, which is just a few days short of our traditional calendar month.
The Moon is well-known for its effect on the ocean’s tides, which ebb and flow with its gravitational pull. The tidal pull of the Moon is in fact over twice that of the Sun, even though the gravitational pull of the Sun on Earth is approximately 178 times stronger than the Moon’s.
Now translate that into the effect it has on the human body, which is made up of 70% water. Pretty overwhelming, right?
(Above: Diagram of the Moon’s tidal pull on the Earth. Via Verrill, A. Hyatt (1922) The Ocean and Its Mysteries, New York City, NY: Duffield & Co., p. 62)
According to Lisa, there is surprisingly almost no Western science to prove this phenomenon. However, she elaborated:
“That doesn’t mean it’s not true. In fact, there are some things that logic just can’t explain. So why wouldn’t the fluids in our bodies be predisposed to that as well?”
“A yogi once told me that during the times of the New Moon and Full Moon, the fluids in our bodies rise from our feet all the way up to our head. To me this “feels” like it makes sense why there seems to be extra pressure and tension, not to mention vertigo during some migraine attacks.”
Why the Moon?
So, we know that the Moon has a powerful gravitational effect, but what else does it impact?
According to Lisa, almost every function in our body can relate to and be governed by the moon, specifically for females: our fertility cycle often corresponds with the lunar cycle, which explains menstrual or hormonal migraines that are associated with Full Moons and New Moons.
I personally experience the worst migraines and flare-ups surrounding a Full Moon and a New Moon. And it’s no fluke: Lisa experiences this too.
“I have witnessed not only for my customers but also myself a vulnerability 3-7 days before and after both the New Moon and Full Moon. I have found a direct correlation with phases of the Moon and menstrual cycles. Depending on where one is in their cycle there is a bunch of stuff happening hormonally with estrogen, progesterone, and glutamate.”
Dr. Christiane Northrup, acclaimed women’s health author and OB/GYN, puts it well:
“Even in modern society, where we are cut off from the rhythms of nature, the cycle of ovulation is influenced by the Moon. Studies have shown that peak rates of conception and probably ovulation appear to occur at the Full Moon or the day before.”
However, it’s not just women who are impacted. We are all affected to a degree, in all parts of our bodies from head to toe.
The Moon has been known to majorly affect behavior and mood, sleep habits, gastro-intestinal problems, and more.
Lisa explains more about the magnetic field the Moon projects, which has a direct influence on our nervous system:
“Our bodies are electromagnetic in nature. Our entire nervous system is electric. When we are in chronic pain, we blow through vital minerals and electrolytes and if we don’t know this then we don’t know how to replenish ourselves.”
“Think of your smartphone… When you get a new one you get the high speed charger and you are supposed to charge it fully. If you don’t charge it fully then it doesn’t operate optimally or it conks out faster–same with the brain. If we lose the charger and buy a cheap replacement it takes longer to charge–same with us. If we don’t replenish what we need constantly in terms of our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies then we too become sluggish. It’s the difference between low vibes and high vibes, so then it becomes also a matter of a voltage issue.”
Despite it being a huge culprit for migraine triggers, it’s not always the Moon we have to blame, although we can’t deny its powerful influence on migraines and more. Lisa stresses that in many cases there are already underlying problems that are making us sick. The Moon simply acts as an exacerbation.
“I believe migraines are caused by at least 3 systems in the body being unbalanced, if not more. That being said, the New Moon and Full Moon times expose those vulnerabilities because there are greater changes in our biochemistry.”
“Physically, we could have metabolic issues, medication overuse issues, inflammation issues, MTHFR issues, dehydration issues, toxicity issues, muscle tension issues, mega stress, structural misalignments, vascular issues, cellular and subtle energy issues, genetics issues, hormones issues, weather, and more. But that is only half of who we are. We have an energetic anatomy as well that is just as important if not more.”
Other Cosmic Causes
The Moon is often the first in line to have a fist shaken at it (at least in my book), but Lisa told me there are many other cosmic phenomena that can affect our bodies unpleasantly.
“Did you know that migraineurs have more neural connections? That’s why they call it the “migraine brain.” Because of that we have a hypersensitive nervous system that makes us super sensitive to environmental changes. Obvious weather changes are a no-brainer. Not only are we sensitive to eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes, but we are also super sensitive to solar flares.”
That’s a lot of space stuff making us sick!
(Above: A photo of a total solar eclipse from September 1, 2016. Via Scoolasse [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons)
The upcoming solar eclipse is something I’d been curiously fearful that might trigger me. So will it?
Yes or no. It depends on level of preparation, self-awareness, and of course the chemical makeup of our bodies–we are all unique, meaning we will all respond to the event differently.
Below, Lisa helped me compile a list of ways you can be proactive about self-care before the eclipse as well as the New and Full Moons and any other cosmic events.
How To Prepare
Like regular prevention of migraines, it’s essential to treat our bodies with care and be self-aware around peak times of the lunar cycle as well as other cosmic events, such as the full solar eclipse coming up this week.
Most of the precautions to take during these times are practices we should be doing regularly anyway. There is always room for self-care when you’re a migraineur–always.
“I think the more one is in touch with their body, mind, and soul they can get a better grip on how they are affected by their migraines. We all know that better diet, exercise, less stress, good sleep, etc. are some of the ways to manage migraines. I was doing all that too. But it wasn’t until I dug into my real nature, my energy and how I was wired as a woman that I had more mindfulness and understanding so that I could create a space to observe my migraines–instead of constantly reacting to pain and medication. When I had a deeper understanding of myself as a woman, I had a better reference point to understand the root causes of my migraines. We are all infinitely different but there is a collective consciousness, a common ground in us as humans and women where we can connect.”
It may seem obvious that the mind, body, and spirit are all affected during cosmic events, so nurturing each one is a step toward bettering your migraines as well as your entire being, as Lisa mentions above.
Check out our list below of ways to prepare for any cosmic trigger that might come your way:
This may seem like common sense–water is important ALL the time for migraineurs. But during these times, upping your intake is crucial because the gravitational effect on your body dehydrates you. Lisa suggests adding an extra full glass of water per day to your regimen.
2. Limit sugar intake & bulk up on electrolytes.
Using spritzes of Migraine Magick is a great way of increasing your electrolytes, but if you don’t have access to it, you can easily do so through your diet. Cut back on sugar. If you are craving it, Lisa advises eating a piece of fruit with the skin along with a piece of cheese. Her explanation:
“The carbs in the fruit will convert to sugar in body but will not give you the migraine because the fiber. It will slowly release into your system because of the cheese.”
3. Get good rest.
Another no-brainer, as sleep is imperative to a migraineur’s overall health anyway. Keeping a regular sleep schedule during the middle of a moon cycle is easier than when a Full Moon or New Moon are approaching, which means taking those extra steps to rest well are important.
Meditation is a great way to ground and center yourself, release negative energies, and shake of stress. Even for those of you new or who think you are “bad” at meditation, Lisa has something for you. She has created a free Nervous System Calibration meditation available to anyone who needs it.
5. Listen to binaural or isochronic tones.
Binaural and isochronic tones are frequencies that activate and balance the hemispheres of the brain. According to Lisa, “when we are in pain there are all kinds of discordant lower frequencies and binaural or isochronic tones can balance them out to higher frequencies.” She offers her own free audios of her own that you can access here.
6. Take a lymphatic drainage bath.
This tip comes straight from my own massage therapist who specializes in integrative holistic health. She prescribes custom remedies for people like me, based on their needs.
Recently she gave me a bath salt essential oil blend for lymphatic release to help de-puff and de-bloat the body–something that, of course, will happen during a Full Moon with the intense gravitational pull. The bath is meant to draw out inflammation and support healthy lymphatic function.
(You can make your own! The blend includes: grapefruit, cypress, geranium, and rosemary essential oils mixed with pure epsom salt. Plus, learn more about essential oils here.)
7. Be self-aware & mindful.
There has always been a saying that resonated with me: “Listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it when it screams.” This is why self-awareness is crucial, not just in times of Full or New Moons.
A bonus tip here is to learn your own cycle and superimpose it over the lunar cycles. Lisa talks about this as well as collective consciousness extensively on her Instagram account; give it a follow to learn more!
“When you are able to figure out where you are in this cycle then you can start linking your feelings and thoughts to the collective. In this way it helps making what we are feeling less personal. Ever have a day when you cry for no reason but inside you are like, I am actually feeling okay, where is this coming from? It’s because it is actually coming from outside of you from the collective unconscious.”
8. Relax and breathe.
We may not be completely in control of the cosmos, but we are in control of many of the functions of our body, including the emotions we put into them. A little rest and relaxation can take us far and prevent those stressful triggers that tend to sneak up on us.
Remember that preparedness during cosmic events comes with practicing all of these tips simultaneously, not just one here and there. You have to be an active part of your prevention. As Lisa wisely says, “all of these pieces work together in tandem. Just one piece won’t cut it just like only taking medicine isn’t cutting it.”